Bullet Proof Webdesign a CSS book review

I read a lot of books pertaining to programming and web technology.  Unfortunately keeping up with the tech world is a never ending battle, but it is a necessary evil.  One of my down falls has always been web design, I can usually code a back-end just great, but coming up with a nice UI will give me the equivalent of writers block in a hurry.  One of the big issues I found was I simply didn’t have the tools to turn a design I came up with into a clean, usable UI for my sites.  I did your typical noob html layout for a long time, nested HTML tables with lots of spacer gifs.  There had to be a better way.  Enter CSS, cascading style sheets. 

bulletproofwebdesign.jpg

I picked up a book called Bullet Proof Webdesign by Dan Cederholm (0321509021).  All in all this is a really great book for someone that has done little to no CSS, but is pretty familiar with HTML concepts.  After reading this book a chapter a night I was able to do just about whatever I needed to with CSS.  The whole book is based around the “old” way of doing things (like I mentioned above) and the correct way.  I highly recommend this book!

An alternative to ASPimage w3wp.exe crashing

Aspimage.dll is a com component written by a company called serverobjects.  As best I can tell they are selling a product but not offering any support for it whatsoever.  As such their support email even bounces.  It just so happens I have several sites under my responsibility that use this component.  What is the issue you ask?  Aspimage has a severe bug that causes it to randomly crash w3wp.exe in windows 2003 (not 2000).  This does nice things like destroying session states and timing out pages among other things.

Currently I am writing a simple wrapper class in ASP classic that uses a much much better component called imageglue.  The end result will be that anyone relying on ASPimage can change one line of code and instantly use imageglue instead.  I have this working pretty well on a test site, but I want to clean it up a bit before I post the code.  I would like to share it though seeing how my hate for aspimage runs deep.  Look for the code in the next week or so hopefully.

Update: Wrapper class is posted here

Convert those pesky pdf fonts to outlines in illustrator

Almost daily at our workplace we have customers send us files for printing on our large format printers. Nearly once a day we get files that are not completely converted to outlines. Those in the business know what I’m refering to, they will also appreciate this tip I’m going to give.

There is a really great tip I learned about Adobe Illstrator CS 2 that will convert any pdf completely to outlines(curves for you corel draw users).

  1. In Illustrator click File > New
  2. click File > Place and locate the offending pdf file
  3. click OK, you should see a preview of the pdf at this point
  4. keep the pdf selected, select Object > flatten transparency
  5. select “convert text to outlines” and move the slider to 100% vectors
  6. click OK

flatten.gif

That’s It! It works every time and has saved us a lot of headache!

Good to be here

Ok, so i’m jumping on the blog bandwagon.  Look for steady stream of tech related post.  I will be posted what I’m working on and cool stuff I find around the web.

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